Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours ~

As we were taking our first trip to Ethiopia to meet our daughter for the first time, I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His.  I returned from that trip crushed.  I had 17 hours on the flight home to absorb what I had seen, and that wasn't enough time.  Still, nearly 3 years later, I’m trying to put my arms around what broke my heart on that trip.  
Ethiopia is a beautiful country full of beautiful countryside, people and culture.  But the poverty, neglect and heart-breaking situations I witnessed changed me forever.  I cannot look at things the same any longer.  There were many things that broke my heart on that trip (orphans, children needing sponsorship, families that need food to feed their children, lack of clean water, etc.) but the orphan is what spoke to my heart the loudest. That’s why I’m a little passionate about children, in general. Once your eyes are open and you can see clearly, you never see the same and you can't ignore it.  

Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act.  Proverbs 24:12

For our family, God led us to adopt internationally.  There wasn't a formula or one particular reason -- other than the subtle hints God used to help us with our decision.  Don't get me wrong, we made a million excuses in the beginning as to why we couldn't or shouldn't do it.  We listened to many lies from people who didn't understand God’s calling on our family, and we wondered ourselves if we were cut out for this . . because we knew we were far from perfect.  But the Truth is, we were all adopted by our heavenly father.  He adopted us – not as perfect people, but as broken, needy and selfish people.  And, going to a third world country showed me what a selfish person I am. Many times people make excuses for NOT fostering or adopting or mentors because they feel that they are not qualified. 

But, it only takes ONE person to make a change in the life of a child.  Adoption, fostering, temporary care, mentoring, etc.  is all the same.  These kids need someone and you don’t have to be perfect, and they certainly will not be perfect either.

November is National Adoption Month and the first Sunday is typically dubbed "Orphan Sunday."  That’s why I am hosting a Sunday in November (November 10th) at our church dedicated to helping children locally and globally – find fulfillment, forever families, mentors, sponsors and friends.  Maybe God is tugging at your heart to ‘do something’ but you don’t know what that 'something' is.  Come find out how you can make a difference in the life of a child!  

If you are local, PLEASE come share a soup and bread luncheon (to signify the plight of the orphan).. and listen and gather information on how you can help a child in need. 

The luncheon begins at noon, followed by the program at 1:00. We will be sharing our story of adopting Ellie, and showing a video of our journey.  Please contact me for additional details or to RSVP.    

Here's the Agenda -- 
Sunday, November 10th beginning at Noon
Mountain Ridge Church, 32 Big Dam Road, Dillsburg, PA

12:00-12:45 - Luncheon & Meet and Greet  
1:00:1:15 -   Welcome and Intro
1:15-1:25 -   Fresh Air Fund (HOST a child 1-2 weeks in the summer)
1:25-1:35 -   Compassion International (SPONSOR a child)
1:35-1:45 -   Bair Foundation 
1:45-1:50 -   Older Child Adoption Experience 
1:50-2:00 -   Bethany Christian Services
2:00-2:05 -   Safe Families (Temporary/Emergency care) 
2:05-2:15 -   Rice Bowls & Closing (Feed a hungry child)


Friday, October 4, 2013

Beads and Bows and Barrettes, oh my!

So, I've come to the conclusion that our house is getting overtaken by hair accessories.  Between all of the rubber bands for Ellie's hair (that seem to break when Ellie's hair dries), bows for Faith's hair, and now with the addition of beads into Ellie's hair, this mama was finding herself swimming in a sea of hair things!  Faith absolutely hates to have her hair messed with, but Ellie LOVES it.  She could sit for hours, but half of the time I had 4 or 6 containers of 'hair junk' surrounding me and I was feeling a little overwhelmed . . . 

That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands and get a little organized.  

I also started to practice putting beads in Ellie's hair.  I noticed that if I did 2 strand twists or braids in her hair, by morning (or when it dried), they were standing on end like Pippi Longstocking.  (ok, for those of you who don't know who that is, see here)  But, with the addition of beads on the ends of her twists or braids, it gives enough weight to keep them hanging down straight.  It's lovely and lasts for about a week [or until one of the girls decides to pull them out :)]    

Here's a picture of my practice sessions. She's such a good girl and is so patient when I'm playing with her hair!  For me to do 6-8 braids [only about 1/2 of her head] it takes me over an hour and that's with using a bead stringer.  I give her the task of picking the color and counting them as she strings them onto the bead stringer -- it's great practice for colors and counting and she loves the one-on-one time.  I'm hoping with additional practice that I'll improve my time in parting, braiding and beading!  

My next lesson -- learning how to cornrow! 

Referral-versary #2

One of our Referral Pictures
September 9th marked our 2 year anniversary of receiving Elliana's referral.   I can honestly say, I FORGOT about it until a few days later.  Ugh, mommy guilt.  That's like forgetting a birthday...

But honestly, we are so busy doing life right now -- and Ellie is so much a part of our family, that we can't remember life without her.  But, we cannot forget the day that God answered our prayers with the referral of this shy little girl from Epio (as Ellie calls it).  And, I still have to shake my head in amazement as I remember how God delicately orchestrated the plan to bring Ellie into our family - (our surprise pregnancy -- Ellie's birthday being the same day we found out we were expecting --  Elliana's Ethiopian name and American name literally meaning the same thing -- and all the intricate details surrounding her story) .  You can read about our referral day here.

It just seems like yesterday that we were in Ethiopia drinking in the culture, the people and the beauty.  We've already talked to Ellie about going back someday when she can go too and I am thrilled that she is opening up more and more every day -- and allows us to talk with her about the past.   I am very sad, however, that the care home Ellie stayed in between court and our Embassy appointment has closed, and our adoption agency has since filed bankruptcy.  This makes me very sad because it's all a part of Ellie's story... and now those parts of her story are gone.  But the good news is none of those things about Ellie's story define who she is and her 'story' continues to evolve.

Big 3 Year old! 
When I look back at pictures of her, we cannot believe how much she has grown -- in size and personality!   She's such a big girl, fully potty trained, attempting to write her name, talking up a storm and such a beautiful girl.  We continue to be amazed at how our comfy family of 4 has turned into a crazy family of 6!  At times, I'm sure we look like a circus rolling into town, but that's ok! And, I often wonder what life would be like for Faith, without a big sister like Ellie.  We are so blessed to have her in our family.  Happy Referral-versary Elliana Geneme!

Crazy Sisters!